Let’s face it – if you had a choice between happy, jolly Santa Claus coming to pay you a visit, laden with toys, a hearty laugh and a longing for milk and cookies, and a cloven-hoofed demonic bringer of retribution and doom as payment for bad deeds done, you’d no doubt pick the man in the red suit every single time.
But in the movie Krampus, which for reasons unknown was coming to Australia in the lead-up to Christmas and is no longer doing so, it isn’t a choice anyone gets to make as Santa is pushed aside, rather rudely and without much ceremony as the cover of The Art of Krampus makes all too clear, in favour of his evil counterpart.
A staple of Austro-Bavarian Christmas storytelling since pre-Christian times, Krampus has always been the punishing yin to Saint Nicholas’s gift-giving yang, a figure designed to inspire good behaviour from children afraid of being spirited away from their families and meted out the most horrible of punishments.
Of late, in line with a revival in his homeland, he has found himself featured on shows like Grimm, a natural home for the mythic figure if ever there was one, and now in the horror comedy movie Krampus, starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette who discover that there’s more than one figure making his presence felt at Christmastime.
And this guy isn’t the least bit interested in supping on high-calorie snacks or getting reindeer to fly across the sky … hell, he’d probably eat them before that happens.
Just how scary he is brought vividly to life in these amazing illustrations from the book that accompanies the film, revealing just how unlike Santa this scary being of myth and legend actually is, and why, for good reason, he’s nowhere near as popular as his red-suited counterpart, nor likely to pop up in any Coke ads anytime soon.
You can see more of this fabulous art at EW and of course buy the book wherever good books about really bad beings are sold.